Pros and Cons of Free-Feeding Your Cat

Excerpt from Starting from Scratch by Pam Johnson-Bennett


For many cats, this method works well because they can nibble at will throughout the day or night. This method is also most convenient for owners because they can leave their cats for longer periods without having to worry about getting home in time for dinner. Another benefit of this feeding method is that, in a multicat home, cats who have appetites at different times can satisfy themselves conveniently. If there’s tension in the multicat home, this can also allow one cat to come in and feed when another cat isn’t around.

However, free-feeding works well only if your cat self-regulates his amount and is able to maintain a healthy weight. Unfortunately, based on the fact that there’s an epidemic of obesity in cats, I would say that free-feeding isn’t working well for many of them.

Free-feeding in a multicat household makes it difficult for a cat owner to monitor how much or little each cat is getting. It also prevents you from using food as an effective behavior modification tool. The use of food in a controlled way can become a strong motivator for your cat to change undesirable behavior. With free-feeding, he’s usually not hungry enough to be enticed.

To learn more about the appropriate mealtimes for your cats to keep them healthy and happy, purchase Starting from Scratch from Catnip.


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